Engie Refrigeration GmbH from Lindau on Lake Constance, Germany, has successfully delivered its first major order of 2022 - five thermeco2 high temperature heat pumps are currently being installed for the Osatina Group, one of the leading food producers in Croatia. The machines, which run on the natural refrigerant CO2 and have a total capacity of five megawatts, will now provide heating for greenhouses.
The Osatina Group is preparing for the future. In the past, this leading Croatian food producer used gas-fired burners to heat five of its 10,000-square-metre greenhouses in the area around Osijek. But the Osatina Group decided to look for a more eco-friendly solution – and found that Engie Refrigeration offered the best concept. Five HHR 1000 type thermeco2 high temperature heat pumps with a total capacity of five megawatts are now operating on site.
They will provide the right temperature for a total area of 50,000 square metres – roughly the size of ten European football fields – growing mainly tomatoes, cucumbers and mushrooms. Upon delivery of the machines, Jochen Hornung, chief executive of Engie Refrigeration, said: ‘We are happy to assist the Osatina Group, our new customer, on its path to climate neutrality. As an ecologically sustainable alternative to fossil-fuelled burners, our thermeco2 high-temperature heat pumps will promote decarbonisation and advance sustainable food production at the Osatina Group.’ The project was completed by the Engie team from Lindau in collaboration with the Zenteh consultancy from Slovenia.
Decarbonisation with thermeco2
Heating supplies for greenhouses have to meet especially challenging requirements. At the Osatina Group, the flow temperature is set at 85 degrees Celsius and the return temperature at 40 degrees Celsius; from a technical perspective, this wide spread between chilled water (13/8 degrees Celsius and 12/6 degrees Celsius) and hot water can only be achieved in one stage by using CO2 as the refrigerant.
In comparison, two-stage solutions, for example those using NH3 as the refrigerant, are considerably less efficient – which ultimately persuaded the Osatina Group to choose Engie Refrigeration. This is because thermeco2 high-temperature heat pumps utilise the natural refrigerant CO2 and combine high energy efficiency with excellent COP values. In addition, the thermeco2 will generate the required hot water with the help of ambient heat from the ground, which makes the project even more sustainable.
And the European Union agrees, as Mr Hornung points out: 'The joint project between Engie Refrigeration and the Osatina Group plays a pioneering role on the international stage in terms of decarbonisation and sustainability. For this reason, the European Union has decided that the project is highly eligible for attractive subsidies covering more than 40 per cent of the total investment. This is fully in line with Engie’s zero carbon strategy: we want to assist our customers on their path to climate neutrality.'
As the project has been so successful, Engie Refrigeration and the Osatina Group are already discussing multiple follow-on contracts; all in all, the food producer operates greenhouses with a total area of 277,000 square metres.
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